Negative News Outdrew Positive In 2013
There must be something to that old saw, “If it bleeds, it ledes” because negative news seems to have gotten the most eyeballs this past year, from the frosty reception Coke’s anti-obesity campaign received when it launched in January to the disrobing of George Zimmer at Men’s Warehouse to Lance Armstrong’s crash as a viable spokesjock. Nike took it on the chin for both Armstrong and a Tiger Woods ad, in fact, though we should point out that accolades are always rolling in for its larger body of work.
Name-dropping is not always a negative endeavor, of course, as our story on LeBron James’s mastery of social media and an obituary for “accidental” fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer would indicate. Everybody loves a day at the beach, of course, as the Club Med piece at No. 2 affirms, and Apple is never far from a headline-scanning eye. Finally, both Groupon’s Andrew Mason and Subway took a tumble (but both are doing just fine in the aftermath, thank you).
Coca-Cola unveiled a two-minute commercial yesterday that puts itself squarely in the national discussion about obesity — as well as in the crosshairs of long-time critics. It’s the opening salvo in what Coke promises will be an ongoing campaign. (Jan. 15)
Club Méditerranée — you know it as Club Med — has its eyes on the Chinese market and a Chinese investment group has its eyes on the storied resort operation, which has rebranded itself several times since its founding in 1950 and currently targets an upscale consumer who has apparently been struggling along with everybody else. (May 28)
George Zimmer, the 64-year-old Men’s Wearhouse founder and spokesman who made a catchphrase out of an avuncular promise — “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it” — was abruptly shown the front door of the company yesterday. (June 20)
The biggest lesson gleaned from Subway’s foot-long fiasco last week is obvious: It doesn’t take much to kick off a social-media stampede followed by a mainstream media steamrolling. The question is whether Subway’s response, sincere and honest as it may have seemed, comes across as half baked. (Jan. 21)
“They’re here again,” write the jaded technology writers. No, they’re not talking about another zombie offering from Hollywood. Rather, it’s informed speculation in the mainstream press about Apple developing a wrist device that inevitably evokes the image of Dick Tracy, the cartoon cop who sported a “2-way wrist radio” back in the day when city editors wore green celluloid eyeshades and computers filled a room. (Feb. 11)
Nike is terminating its nine-year merchandising partnership with Livestrong Foundation, the nonprofit organization for people affected by cancer that disgraced bicyclist Lance Armstrong founded in 1997 but is no longer affiliated with, after having earned more than $100 million for the charitable brand and redefined the way corporate sports partnerships operate. (May 29)
It’s no secret that the world of sports marketing has come a long way since the days when Yogi Berra was pitching Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink, Camels cigarettes and Puss’n Boots cat food but Michael Wilbon’s piece on ESPN.com this week is a exploration of just how far it has leaped past Air Jordan in the days of social media. More than ever, it’s not just about television commercials. And LeBron James is the excellent case in point. (June 27)
When Vince Lombardi told us winning was “the only thing,” it was a straightforward assertion about a different sort of boy’s game that men play than the one that led to Tiger Woods’ fall from media grace and No. 1 ranking as his golf game soured. (March 27)
Like many a defeated and depleted executive before him, Groupon co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason emailed his staff yesterday that he was leaving the company to “spend more time with my family.” Then, in his typically offbeat style, he did what most executives don’t: “Just kidding –- I was fired today,” he wrote. (March 1)
The story of designer Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau, who died yesterday at 81, is nothing less than a fairy tale of making lemonade out of lemons. And it’s right out of the Kennedys' Camelot, too. (April 8)
Enjoy the festivities; we’ll see you on the other side of the holiday.